How climate impacts microorganisms and why we should care

By: Dana Sackett As Earth Day approaches, it seems timely to pause and examine some of the natural processes that enable life on Earth.  Remarkably, this big topic requires us to take a look at some of the smallest organisms on the planet.  Microorganisms (or organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye such…

Spawning in strange waters: how hybridization affects native fishes

By Ed Kluender, guest blogger Hybrid creatures are one of the most common tropes of both goofy and great horror movies (think The Fly or countless werewolf movies), and plenty of them are at least half fish – Creature, Piranhaconda, and the Sharktopus franchise. Most of those films have a pretty shaky basis in reality,…

The value of a species

By: Dana Sackett According to some scientists the earth is currently undergoing the sixth mass extinction crisis in the last half-billion years.  Some have described this current crisis as the largest loss of plants and animals since the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.  With so much loss it is hard to understand how these extinctions…

Drought and pollution

By: Dana Sackett As an environmental scientist I can honestly say that I am very concerned for the future of our planet and ourselves.  I cannot emphasize enough the reality of climate change, that it is human-caused (and therefore that we can do something about it), and that we definitely need to do something about…

Fish biodiversity by the numbers

I was recently asked why I study stream and river fishes. Of course I rattled off several of the high points about threatened habitats, high biodiversity, and simply cool fish. But that question prompted me to reflect on why I do what I do, and I decided to go back to ‘square one’– the well-accepted…

Neighborhood watch: rising threats to freshwater fishes

 By Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley, Guest Blogger Illustrations by Hannah Dean Imagine you live in a small neighborhood with limited places to access food or resources. What if, in addition to living in a small neighborhood, 30% of your neighborhood were also under an activity that impacts you in a negative way? Say it is under construction and you can’t…

What can guppies teach us about fisheries management?

We can’t manipulate entire stocks of Bluefin Tuna in massive experiments. But we can use guppies to get the same answer. But first, a quiz: How does overfishing affect fish populations? Obviously, more commercial catch reduces the total biomass and number of individuals in a stock—that’s a given. But commercial over-harvest has another, more subtle…

Why is genetic diversity important?

Genetic diversity and the portfolio effect can help buffer species against global change. The greater the genetic diversity, the greater the opportunity for resiliency to future climate change. When it comes to fish conservation in an era of global change, genetic diversity is like a diversified financial portfolio. If you bet everything on one strain, you could end up with…

Dam Removals

Recently we’ve heard a lot of trumped up talk about building walls. While we don’t get political here at The Fisheries Blog, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the trend of taking down walls, also known as dam removal. Dams are built for a lot of good reasons. Larger ones produce hydropower, and…

Zebrafish help show how ‘BPA-free’ is misleading

By: Dana Sackett Zebrafish are small freshwater fish that originated in rivers from India. These fish share important biological properties with all vertebrates that make them useful in understanding how contaminants may impact other vertebrates in the environment, including ourselves. Logistically they are also useful because they are easy to maintain in aquariums, and they…

Estrogens may be feminizing a waterway near you

By: Dana Sackett “Clutching the bottle of water I had just collected from the Pee Dee River, I climbed the steep embankment back to our truck wondering how much estrogen we would find in our sample. We spent the better part of a month driving across North Carolina to examine a suite of chemicals called…